Gone are the days when companies rely solely on job boards and recruitment agencies to recruit talent. Today, social media is becoming part of the recruitment marketing mix as companies start to realise its pros: jobs can be filled faster due to social media’s high usage rate and immediate response time; a larger pool of qualified candidates will know about the openings through social networks; and low cost with high return on investment (ROI) amongst other benefits.

 This is not surprising with the massive growth of social media over the years. 2012 saw a 305% increase in the number of social media users since 2009. More popular sites have attracted hundreds million of users – LinkedIn (150 million), Twitter (300 million) and Facebook (845 million). Today, social media has become a part of our lives and we use it for so many purposes – shopping, networking and searching for jobs (and even love) online!

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This social media boom has created an opportunity for companies to tap on more channels to increase the visibility of their employment brand online and promote interaction with candidates. What is surprising is while employers see social media as a useful recruitment tool, they are not actively using it to recruit talents according to the 2013 XpertHR survey - only 46% of employers use it.

SEE ALSO: Why Your Employer Branding Matters

How can companies leverage social media for employer branding?

Besides consistent communications of the Employee Value Proposition (EVP) to candidates and employees, it is important that internal and external communications work in tandem to optimise employer branding online. Some suggestions are to:

  • Build online profiles

Create a full company profile which communicates the EVP to candidates. This also serves as an example for employees on the tone, style and content of the company’s social media presence.

  • Support virtual interaction

Use a channel to promote ongoing conversations for candidates to ask questions and connect with employees. This can draw on the passion of employees.

  • Engage in online forums

Employers and employees can contribute to online groups and provide useful information about company, and leverage employee testimonials to make its online presence more genuine for candidates.

  • Encourage employee profiles

Train employees to use social media platforms – build their personal brand and promote the EVP. This sends a strong signal to candidates that employees are proud to endorse their company.

  •  Think about multiple profiles

While this may not work for a smaller company, a larger one may want to consider multiple profile pages such as different job functions or geographical locations to target candidates more precisely.

  • Think before you jump onto the social bandwagon

It is important to have a strategy for social media recruitment – what your company wants to do and how to do it. Here are some points and questions to consider:

  • Set objectives

Be clear about your business, marketing and social media goals. Do you want to drive recruitment, build employer brand awareness or reach new candidates?

  • Understand target audiences

Know the social graphics of your candidates. What are they doing online and who are their social influencers?

  • Validate through social listening

Conduct a market analysis. Do you understand your employer brand presence in the social space? What are your competitors doing online?

  • Define your strategy

Establish resources, roles and stakeholders, and plan for budget. Who is the social strategist and community manager in your company? Do you have funds for headcount, tools, training, development and consulting?

  • Define implementation plan

Select the channels and plan the content. Do you want to use LinkedIn, Facebook and/or YouTube? What are the types of posts? What is the content calendar line-up?

  • Define rules of engagement

Work out disclosure/ethics, social media, community and response policies. Have your employees attended social media training? Do your company and employees know how to response to comments posted in the social media?

  • Establish ongoing measurements

Set quantifiable goals and metrics to monitor. Do you want to raise awareness about your EVP or increase website traffic? How will you track the responses?

Social media will continue to be an employer branding trend in 2013 and it is important that employers leverage on social media to reach the talent pool, as part of the communications strategy. Companies who use only one-way or two-way communications may not be able to reach out effectively and efficiently to candidates and employees. Engaging the target audiences and promoting interactions about the company in the social media can help companies to build trust in the EVP and strengthen their employment brand.

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